Silverstein with special guests Stray From The Path and Avoid at The Vogue in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 16, 2023!
Few bands on their 22nd lap around the scene could claim to be in “just getting started” mode as much as punk stalwarts Silverstein.
The release of their tenth studio album, Misery Made Me, finds the group springboarding off the heights they’ve reached over the past handful of years; their latest album (2020’s A Beautiful Place To Drown) adding 80 Million streams to a mind-numbing career total of 500 Million; it collecting a nomination for Rock Album Of The Year at the esteemed Juno Awards; and its most recent headliner selling out nearly every date in elite rooms.
In bringing Misery Made Me to life Silverstein have continued to build on their already-wide-reaching impact. Immersing themselves in new technologies like TikTok, Discord, NFTs, the metaverse, and Twitch (even holding public writing sessions with fans over the latter) during its formation, the band have confirmed their unique ability to adapt and connect in all cycles of their career.
Interestingly, amid all the positivity and connectivity injected into its creation, there comes a dark set of themes underpinning the album, as its title might suggest. Inspired by the past two years, Misery Made Me is a depiction of Silverstein – and world at large’s – collective turmoil, frustration, and anxiety.
“I wanted to explore the meaning of ‘Misery’ as a main theme throughout the album,” says vocalist Shane Told. “Despite the mountains climbed and boulders pushed during recent years, we were confronted by the weight and misery of staying relatively in the same place for a long period of time. Finding peace in the reality of this misery became important. The record is about the acceptance of a new reality and adapting to it.”
Ultimately, Misery Made Me finds the band trying to navigate the ever-worsening challenges of our modern world – angst, doomscrolling, and disassociation. It’s a record that is a product of the moment in time in which it was created yet doesn’t feel like it will date itself anytime soon, as many of its topics of loneliness, anxiety, and isolation are eternal human struggles.
Exemplified by the anthemic opener ‘Our Song’, Misery Made Me is part acceptance of the band’s personal miseries, and part declaration that they will not be buried by them. At the back end of the record lies ‘Live Like This’ (ft. nothing,nowhere.) and arguably its most bleak and haunting lyric: “I don’t want to die, but I can’t live like this.”
Singles ‘It’s Over’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ dive deeper into this feeling of desperation, describing the utter helplessness of losing control to anxiety.
“’It’s Over’ is about the spiral that leads to giving up,” shares guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau. “Those anxiety-packed hours when you can’t feel anything but the low, steady crescendo of panic that eventually gets so intense your fingertips lose sensation. It’s hopeless to feel but pointless to endure. I didn’t learn anything from feeling that way. I just wanted it to stop.”
“’Ultraviolet’ is about feeling powerless and under the control of the chemicals in your brain,” he adds. “Ultraviolet light itself being invisible felt like the right way to describe this notion. To get lost in this unseeable thing. UV also causes physical damage to our skin, so it serves as a sort of ‘proof’ that something invisible like anxiety can hurt us.”
Filled with moments of relentless energy throwing back to their hardcore roots (‘Die Alone’ ft. Andrew Neufeld), to visionary moments of modern heavy (‘The Altar / Mary’), Misery Made Me fastens Silverstein’s status as torchbearers of the scene on all fronts.
It’s both intriguing and inspiring that a band – who could have merely rested on the impressive legacy they’ve already cemented – would continue to dig deep and find the inspiration to reach people in meaningful new ways. Misery Made Me is a campaign hinged on Silverstein’s reflection and gratitude for their roots, their honoring of their earliest fans, and their staunch desire to explore forward-thinking and adventurous ways to connect with new ones.
Misery Made Me is out May 6 via UNFD.
Stray From The Path are not ones to mince words. The lyrics “Thinking like everyone else is not really thinking” open the hardcore boundary-defiers’ new album, Internal Atomics, and it’s an immediate declaration of intent: the world as we know it isn’t working, and it’s time for something new. In every way, the album is Stray From The Path unleashed; it’s punishingly heavy yet loaded with memorable hooks, universal and accessible yet caustic and outspoken, socially conscious and political yet deeply personal, furious yet constructive—an audacious testament to the power of aggressive music and refusing to fall in line.
Over a decade into their career, Stray From The Path have achieved a kind of longevity rarely seen in hardcore. With each successive release and relentless touring, longtime members Tom Williams (guitar) and Drew Dijorio (vocals) have taken the band from scrappy Long Island locals to powerhouse globetrotters. Anthony “Dragon Neck” Altamura (bass) joined in 2011 and Craig Reynolds (drums) in 2016, solidifying the lineup and helping the band evolve into their current incarnation: a behemoth of groove-laden, metallic hardcore riffing and hip hop-influenced vocal cadences. For Internal Atomics, the band teamed with producer/engineer Will Putney (Every Time I Die, Body Count, Vein) for a fifth time, recording at New Jersey’s Graphic Nature Audio and building on the trust and collaborative spirit that informs Stray From The Path’s writing process. The album pushes the band further into pummelling sonic territory than ever before, but it’s their attention to rhythm and catchiness that truly makes the heaviness impactful. Songs would often start with a drum part from Reynolds providing the perfect inspiration for Williams’ trademark Tom Morello-meets-Kurt Ballou riffs. But the instrumentals aren’t the only part of songwriting that Stray From The Path approach as a unit. The band also writes lyrics together, often spending hours in the control room endlessly looping parts and throwing out ideas. Dijorio explains, “We’ve really learned to take constructive criticism from each other, you just have to understand that everyone is trying to make the song the best it can be.”
This concerted effort might not be the norm for most bands, but for Stray From The Path it’s a natural extension of their worldview. “We want to collectively have stances, we don’t write about driving in the car with the top down,” Williams says. “We just try to shine a light on things that maybe aren’t always covered in the mainstream.” The band sees their position as an opportunity to plant seeds for change in an increasingly dark socio-political climate, and playing to ever-growing crowds of young music fans is a responsibility they don’t take lightly. “When you’re a kid, you can only go off of what you’re exposed to and we’re a good gateway to a lot of things like hardcore, metal, hip hop, and on top of that we try to use the band as a platform to highlight things we think are important,” Dijorio says. “I remember being that young kid and finding out that this whole other world existed, and it’s really cool to be able to offer that.”
Stray From The Path broadened their lyrical scope on Internal Atomics and aimed for a more universal tone without losing an ounce of their vitriol towards injustice. “The album title is about the idea of using energy to create power from within, that everyone has this energy they could use to help others,” says Williams, continuing, “We don’t have some perfect outlook on life but we try to speak from our experiences. We have a front-row seat to America and we’ve been to something like 40 countries, you just see so much that makes it clear that we need to treat each other better on a societal level. You see places where people are being taken care of and then you see places where basic human rights are labeled as outsider ideas.”
One of the most pivotal experiences that informs Internal Atomics is the band’s 2018 trip to Kenya. Teaming with Hardcore Help Foundation and Actions Not Words, the band raised enough money to provide water filters for one hundred families and deliver them to villages outside of Nairobi. The band even capped off the visit with a show. “We started this band in an arcade hall in Long Island and it brought us all the way to Africa,” Dijorio says, “That was just us doing our small part, but HHF and ANW have dedicated their entire lives to helping people. It really changes your perspective.”
That strong sense of empathy runs throughout Internal Atomics. “Ring Leader” is the album’s explosive opening salvo, with Reynolds’ intricate drums building to a gigantic chorus that’s sure to incite shout-alongs and headbanging alike. The song wastes no time indicting the rampant complacency and selfishness that permeates modern America. “There are things that shouldn’t be a struggle to determine if they’re right or wrong,” Williams says, referencing everything from police brutality and flagrant corporate greed to healthcare reform and environmental protections. “But a lot of people don’t care unless something directly affects them. They aren’t willing to sacrifice any small part of their own comfort for the greater good.” Tracks like “The First Will Be The Last” and “Fortune Teller” lash out at that myopic outlook and the priorities of past generations that fostered it, while “Something In The Water” asks what has made people so numb to the suffering of others that they’re willing to turn a blind eye to everything from mass shootings to immigrants in need.
While much of Internal Atomics explores 2019’s harsh political and societal realities, it also finds the band getting closer to home. “Kickback” features guest vocals from Counterparts’ Brendan Murphy, and uses a mind-bogglingly heavy chorus to rail against the kind of personality that only see others as stepping stones. “Holding Cells For The Living Hell” finds Dijorio at his most vulnerable, opening up about a family member’s struggles with mental health and coming to terms with not always being able to help the ones we love. “The hardest part is accepting that you can offer as much support as you can, but you can’t fix it.” he says.
Compassion blends with frustration throughout Internal Atomics, as the band veers from unrepentantly provocative (“Double Down”) to encouraging deeper understanding (“Beneath The Surface”). The album ends with “Actions Not Words,” a hardcore epic inspired by HHF and ANW activists, and the many people the band met throughout their trip to Africa. “It was such a sharp contrast to people living in suburbia, who have so much but refuse to give anything,” Williams says. “It’s not about wanting more, it’s about wanting people to have enough.” The times we live in don’t have easy answers, but if Internal Atomics is about refocusing energy toward a better world, Stray From The Path has that energy in spades and aims to use it. “It’s a snowball effect,” Dijorio says. “We talk about it on stage, maybe a kid talks to their friends, their parents, they start to find the things they believe in, and then they make a difference in their own lives and communities. That’s what all this is about.”
Engaging, edgy, erratic, irreverent, wild, vibrant, fun… There’s certainly no shortage of adjectives to describe AVOID and their quest to fuel that feeling of being a part of something.
Evoking a nostalgia for the kind of music that seeps into your soul, the Seattle five-piece channel the musical legacy synonymous with their hometown while blissfully genre-hopping to create something entirely new. Good times with a message of inclusivity, with a drive to bring passion, innovation, and provocation back to heavy music and pull in the community around it, AVOID crackle with the energy of a young act ready to take the world by storm.
Carving his own path hustling promoting shows and managing bands, the band’s inimitable future frontman Benny Scholl knew early on the dedication it would take to be successful in the music business. Meeting impressive guitarist Nick Olson, he turned his hand to playing music, deciding he would be unlike any other frontman he had seen, and on enlisting Chris Echols (guitar), Luke Ryder (bass), Paul Jaton (drums) some of the top talent in the local scene became AVOID, releasing their debut album Alone in 2018.
While the world fell silent in 2020, the band seized the moment to make noise with the release of their attention-grabbing EP The Burner – and it got LOUD. Securing a sponsorship with NASCAR which turned their passion into promotion, they had their music and band-branded vehicle in the official video game. Singer Benny Scholl went viral with his accidentally acapella rendition of the National Anthem at the NASCAR Vegas race, endearing himself to sports commentator Jim Rome who ran with coverage of the event for weeks. They also forged a long-term partnership with SiriusXM, taking over the airwaves on Octane and Liquid Metal with ambassador single “Song About James”, which incorporated their lyrical muse James “Jeopardy James” Holtzhauer in its marketing.
With new tracks “My World”, “COWABUNGA” and “Split (Kill It)” setting the tone for a new era for the band, and their live show reputation building more buzz daily, AVOID are ready to spread their brand of infectious hedonism that injects some magic into the mundane. Bringing twists on the art, and the media, and methods of the 90s/00s into the modern day, this is something new that we have all been craving.
This is the start of something important, something defining – and AVOID are bringing everyone along for the ride. Hold on tight, it’s about to get weird.
SILVERSTEIN WITH SPECIAL GUESTS STRAY FROM THE PATH AND AVOID
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2023
THE VOGUE THEATRE
TICKETS AT THEVOGUE.COM
THIS SHOW IS GENERAL ADMISSION AND SEATING IS NOT PROVIDED. YOU MUST BE 21+ TO ENTER THE VENUE WITH A VALID FORM OF IDENTIFICATION. ALL TICKETS ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE AND NON-REFUNDABLE. TWO FORMS OF IDENTIFICATION MAY BE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY.